Youthful team poised to return to states


Senior Casey Turro placed 2nd in her final dual meet Oct. 5 against Sanderson. (This photo was taken during the 2015-2016 season)

Ross Genetti, Staff Reporter

Chemistry teacher and coach Erin Mercer has very high hopes for the girls’ cross country team this year.  Those hopes follow a successful 2015 where they girls were third in the Cap-8, fourth in the region, and ninth at states.

Mercer thinks that cooperation and a close-knit team are the keys to winning.

Returning all but one of the top five scoring runners from last season helps foster the chemistry Mercer is looking for.

Mercer believes the girls should, “continue to run as a team. Try to keep everyone close together in meets.”

If the Sept. 29 dual meet versus Leesville is any indication, the girls are doing just that. Led by Sophomore Erin Spreen (20:17), the team placed five runners in the top ten taking third through sixth places and ninth.

Spreen trailed the number two runner by a mere two seconds. Rounding out the top five were junior Sydney Quate (21:04) and senior Casey Turro (21:15).

Spreen finished 2015 as the top freshman girl in the state but has had to overcome some difficulties this summer.

“She was injured over the summer and couldn’t train. She was top in the state last year but once she gets back, she should be there again,” Mercer said.

As she logs more miles, Spreen’s stamina is returning, but in the 33rd Annual Greensboro Invitational Sept. 24, Spreen trailed Turro (25th, 20:52.23) and Quate (26th, 20:53.97). She took 29th overall (20:59.76).

The girls finished fourth as a team.

A week later, Spreen was back in form at the Great American Cross Country festival in Cary, Oct. 1. She cracked the top ten, taking ninth overall (19:15.10) out of 112 finishers and shaving a minute and a half off of her previous weeks’ time.

“I think I’ve grown for the better since last year because I know how to prevent getting injured and have more experience,” Spreen said.

Also scoring for the Cougars were Quate (21st , 19:52.50), Turro (62nd, 21:01.60), sophomore Tyler Bland (77th , 21:33.20) and junior Mary Ward 81st , 21:39.30).

The girls took 13th out of 16 in what head coach Patrick Marshall characterized as a highly competitive meet.

Spreen saw another top-ten finish as she placed eighth Sept. 17 with a time of 20:50.

“I think we performed well as a team, and I also think that I have been improving throughout the season,” Spreen said.

The team completed their final dual meet of the season Oct. 5.

Turro placed 2nd (20:02.5) in the Oct. 5 meet against Sanderson.

“I was really happy, it was the fastest I have ran all season, all the girls ran well,” Turro said.

Turro said that the team has been having a rough season, but they have been training hard. Hopefully it will pay off in the end.

“I am hoping to break 20 at Cap 8. I also think our team will qualify for states this year,” Turro

With the Cap-8 meet looming on the horizon, Quate wants the team to become even closer and finish stronger than last year.

“I want the team to get back to states and get a PR on the 5K,” Quate said.

Spreen also has high hopes for the season.

Spreen said, “I think our cross-country team will go to states and place the same or better as last year because we are improving so much this season.”